Sunday, January 25, 2015
Thursday, January 22, 2015
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Thursday, January 15, 2015
Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:51 pm (PST) .
October 20, 2014 Fecal Transplant Cost Effective for Recurrent C difficile http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/813252
View on www.medscape.com http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/777515
PHILADEPHIA — Both initial and sustained responses to fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) for the treatment of refractory C difficile infection remain high out to 18 months' follow-up, provided patients do not require antibiotics for the treatment of an unrelated infection, new research shows.
"We looked at a very sick cohort of patients, in that they had either recurrent or refractory C difficile, and we saw a 91.4% primary response rate at 3 months, an 86.2% response rate at 6 months, and an 80.5% response rate at 18 months, which I think is very telling of the effectiveness of FMT, even in sick patients who had failed primary, secondary, and in some cases, tertiary treatment options with antibiotics.
We looked at a very sick cohort of patients, in that they had either recurrent or refractory C difficile, and we saw a 91.4% primary response rate. Dr Daniel Greenwald
They also found that in patients who did not have a sustained treatment response to FMT, there was a coincident use of antibiotic therapy after treatment for other conditions. A large percentage of these patients also happened to be on pretransplant immunosuppressive therapy, both well-established independent risk factors associated with susceptibility to C difficile.
In contrast, patients who took probiotics prior to receiving FMT were more likely to be disease-free at follow-up than patients who had relapsed (P = .0186).
"Recurrent C difficile is typically seen in patients who need antibiotics for some other condition down the road, so I think overall, this study just adds more data to the experience of the efficacy of FMT."
Cuomo signs bill safeguarding Lyme treatments
Doctors who prescribe longer courses of antibiotic treatments for Lyme disease have new protections under state law today.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill late Wednesday that prohibits the state Office of Professional Medical Conduct from investigating a licensed physician based solely upon the recommendation or provision of a treatment that is not universally accepted by the medical profession.
Those protections include, but are not limited to, treatments for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.
The measure was passed unanimously by the state Legislature in the spring, and had been under review by Cuomo's lawyers for months.
In a memo, Cuomo said the Legislature had agreed to include an amendment to address "certain technical and implementation flaws that would limit (the state's) ability to conduct an inquiry or investigation into a certain category of complaints thereby putting the public at risk."
Cuomo's memo did not detail what those flaws are.
News of Cuomo's approval prompted messages of relief and support from the Lyme disease community.
"We did it!" wrote Jill Auerbach, chairwoman of the Hudson Valley Lyme Disease Association, in an email to supporters. "It was our ability to work together that we were able to educate the (state) government to the dire need for sick people to be treated as individuals, especially when the science on persistence of borreliosis (Lyme and other borrelia) is not settled."
"This law has been a long time in coming, but it's done!" wrote Chris Fisk of the Lyme Action Network. "There may be some technical tweaks, but we are assured that they do not alter the intent of the bills that were unanimously passed in both the Senate and Assembly."
The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Kemp Hannon, a Republican from Nassau County, and chairman of the state Senate Health Committee.
In the Assembly, it was sponsored by Didi Barrett, the Democrat from Millbrook.
In a statement, Barrett said the legislation "was a hard-won victory for all of our neighbors, family members and friends who have struggled to find treatment."
Dr. Kenneth Liegner, a Pawling-based physician, was investigated twice by the state over his treatment of Lyme disease.
He said that in both instances, he was able to successfully defend his practices on their merits.
"But it was very stressful and very costly," he said. "And it very much distracted from my care of other patients."
Liegner said the fact the bill received unanimous support in the state Legislature is another indication that longstanding doubt within the medical community about the validity of chronic Lyme disease is disappearing.
The science supporting diagnoses of chronic Lyme disease, he said, "is so strong that the mainstream is beginning to reassess its position."
Friday, January 9, 2015
Newly discovered antibiotic may combat drug-resistant bacteria.
The discovery of a new antibiotic that could potentially aid in the fight against drug-resistant bacteria was covered on one of last night's national news broadcasts, by major US newspapers, and by several online sources. Most sources touted the potential impact of the antibiotic, but pointed out that it has not yet been tested in humans. The CBS Evening News (1/7, story 9, 2:05, Pelley) reported that "bacteria that cannot be stopped by antibiotics are called super bugs and every year they claim thousands of lives." However, a "powerful new antibiotic" called teixobactin "could be a game changer."
The New York Times (1/8, A13, Grady, Subscription Publication) reports that "the researchers said...the drug works in a way that makes it very unlikely that bacteria will become resistant to it." Meanwhile, "the method developed to produce the drug has the potential to unlock a trove of natural compounds to fight infections and cancer — molecules that were previously beyond scientists' reach because the microbes that produce them could not be grown in the laboratory." The findings were published in Nature.
In a front-page story, the Washington Post (1/8, A1, Feltman) reports that researchers "sandwiched soil between two semi-permeable membranes, effectively tricking soil microbes into growing in a 'natural' environment that was actually a lab culture." One of "the 10,000 organisms and 25 antibiotics they grew in this new type of culturing method is Teixobactin." The drug "successfully obliterated MRSA and drug-resistant TB in cell cultures and in mice, and did so without any signs that the bacteria might become resistant to it."
Bloomberg News (1/8, Bloomfield) reports, "Teixobactin strikes multiple targets, including cell walls, said Tanja Schneider, a lead author of the study." Bloomberg News adds, "Since the lipid structures it attacks don't evolve as quickly as frequently mutating proteins, it may take the bacteria longer than usual to develop a survival tactic."
The Wall Street Journal (1/8, A3, Naik, Subscription Publication) reports, however, that teixobactin was not effective against the majority of strains of gram-negative bacteria.
Still, the Los Angeles Times (1/8, Mohan) "Science Now" blog reports, "Experts said the discovery could lead to a new class of antibiotics for the first time in decades."
According to the AP (1/8), "The find...marks a return to the heyday of antibiotic research immediately following World War II, when soil microbes yielded the mainstays in the fight against deadly infections."
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Generic Email - 1
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We are excited to announce a new Parkinson's Community collaboration with Genentech, which will be announced publicly on Tuesday.
Genentech has an excellent track record for taking scientific data and turning it into scientific breakthroughs, which has led to successful new treatments. In fact, Genentech has published widely on LRRK2, which demonstrates their ongoing commitment to finding better Parkinson's treatments and ultimately, a cure.
The goal of this initiative will be to identify new drug targets and new therapies by analyzing whole genome sequence data from more than 3,000 individuals in the 23andMe Parkinson's Community. To date, we have only analyzed approximately 750,000 genetic data points in any given individual's genome (you were genotyped, not fully sequenced). This new, whole genome sequencing, will allow us to review 3 billion genetic data points within the genome of each participant. For those who want to participate, a new consent form will be required.
Historically, sequencing on this scale would have been prohibitively expensive, but recent advances in technology have made it more accessible. With this additional sequence data, we hope to learn more about Parkinson's, including the identification of new genes associated with the disease as well as new mutations in known risk genes like LRRK2. 23andMe will have an internal team of researchers dedicated to this important initiative in 2015.
We will be reaching out to you shortly with more information on how you can participate, so there is no need to contact us today.
We look forward to working with you and Genentech in 2015 and hope you find this announcement as exciting as we do.
23andMe Research/PD Community
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Saturday, January 3, 2015
Through a series of interesting connections from olden days when I used to work in a stereo shop in about 1980, I got a phone call tonight from a fellow who used to be my boss back then. He told me about his efforts in New Jersey and Maine a few years ago trying to stop or at least slow down the Lyme infection rate in the general human population. Knowing that the white-footed mouse is a major vector in the life cycle of Lyme ticks, he got active in trying to get folks to use something called a "tick tunnel."